Lawsuit targets business owner

MAYFIELD – The property owners who once planned to collaborate on building a 60-room hotel in the village are now locked in litigation, with one accusing the other of damaging their property.

Brian and Laura Hayner, who own a 63-acre farm on Route 30, filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Johnstown on Nov. 7 against Dimark Development Northville and its owner, Mark Murphy. Dimark owns the neighboring Adirondack Gateway Mobil gas station and convenience store and an adjacent car wash.

According to the lawsuit, the Hayners were negotiating with Murphy, who wanted to purchase some of their property. But the Hayners said in the court filing that Murphy trespassed on the property, where he allegedly diverted drainage and put in tiles to dry their fields, cut back a bank, removed stone walls, installed a roadway and extended the car wash onto their land.

It says Murphy also added a retaining wall “that trespassers could fall off,” opening the Hayners up to liability issues.

The lawsuit seeks $50,000 in damages and the restoration of the property, including removal of a roadway Murphy allegedly installed.

The lawsuit does not indicate when the land-sale negotiations or the alleged trespassing took place. But in 2008, Murphy and the Hayners informed village and town officials of their plans to have Dimark purchase some of their land and build a hotel north of the convenience store.

The plan required having 51.6 acres of the Hayners’ farm and a 4.6-acre lot owned by Dimark annexed into the village, where water and sewer could be accessed. The town and village boards approved the annexation in spring 2008, but no construction took place.

The Hayners’ attorney, Roger L. Paul of Northampton, did not return a phone message seeking comment. The telephone number listed for Dimark Development is no longer in service. Murphy did not return a call seeking comment left at Tower Shops, a Perth convenience store he owns and operates.

Murphy and his Perth-based development companies also own several buildings leased to government agencies, including post offices in Northville and Caroga and the state police barracks in Fonda, according to the Dimark website and public records.

In 2007, Dimark paid $325,000 for the vacant land that now houses its car wash, gas station and convenience store, according to public records. The land, which totals about 7.5 acres, mostly sits east of the Hayners’ property. The neighbors share about 750 feet of property line, according to Fulton County tax maps.